Looking for simple, customizable white noise machine
November 30, 2020 3:59 PM   Subscribe

I used to have a Marsona-brand sound machine that had a few presets - I think maybe rain/waterfall, stream/wind, and waves? - and one or two sliders to adjust the noise. For example, you'd select the rain/waterfall button, and depending on how far the slider was, you'd either get a thinner "rain" sound or a heavy "waterfall" sound. (Actual details may have varied). It allowed for a great customized sound. I never see this in newer machines. Can anyone recommend a model that does this?
posted by curious nu to Technology (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'll be watching this with interest because I've also been looking for something similar, and everyone says "There's an app for that" and there are indeed several good ones I can suggest, but, that's not what you asked and there is indeed a dearth of good, dedicated white noise machines; there's lots of cheap crappy ones and a lot of expensive ones that aren't actually any better in terms of sounds, and a few old reliable ones like the Sleep-Mate (my mom has one that's about 25 years old) which actually make the noise instead of play a sound file, but the amount of customization on it is limited to adjustment of the air vents.
posted by The otter lady at 4:22 PM on November 30, 2020

I've tried some phone apps, and youtube has lots of 8-10hr noise videos. They've all come up short one way or another for my needs.

I'd long had a noisemaker on my diy list, a true white noise generator (utilizing an actual 2N2222!) with filtering for more brown noise than white, into a small powered speaker. However, I realized I had a cheap FM pocket radio that also has an SD card slot for rudimentary MP3 playback. It's basically a modern take on a pocket transistor radio. So I created an 8hr long brown noise MP3 using Audacity that the radio plays continuously, and loops by default. This thing is basically always running, powered by a USB cord, and I just turn the volume up or down as needed. If I desired rain or other type sound effects, I'd probably rip one from a youtube noise vid, and edit as needed in Audacity.

Finally, youtuber Fran Blanche did a teardown-type vid a few weeks back on her dad's old school noise machine. It turns out to be a dumb fan in an even dumber enclosure, designed only for its ability to make noise. Turns out the company that made it is still in business and goes by yogasleep.com where they sell, among other things, a variety of sound machines including the old school fan-based one and the Marsona!
posted by 2N2222 at 5:51 PM on November 30, 2020

I run a box fan in my room overnight for ambient noise. I guess it could be positioned closer to where your head is or further way or aimed at different things for different effects. I know this isn't at all what you're really asking for, but after trying out a bunch of apps and mp3s and all kinds of things, I keep coming back to this because it works for me.
posted by hippybear at 7:14 PM on November 30, 2020

Anker Soundcore Wakey Is a Bluetooth alarm clock controlled by an app that lets you mix up to 10 ambient sounds. I especially like that you can set the light on the clock to turn off during sleeping hours if you want.
posted by zepheria at 9:35 PM on November 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

Alexa has a good white noise skill that lets you layer sounds
posted by Jacqueline at 10:44 PM on November 30, 2020

Hey so! The exact thing I wanted to get is, in fact, still a Marsona, just rebranded: Yogasleep Zohne. It's a steepish price but works so well.

They also have the 1288 in case the little one above doesn't cut it, but I don't have any experience with that one.
posted by curious nu at 4:01 PM on December 11, 2020

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